Venice: May 1607, 16-25

Pages 497-501

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 10, 1603-1607. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.

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May 1607, 16–25

May. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 732. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the conclusion of the truce despatches arrive so frequently for the French Ambassador, and he has such frequent audience that it is clear the matter in hand refers to the effect likely to be produced by the treaty. The King of France desires that the two crowns should adopt a common line of action; but the English, as yet, reply in vague and general terms. But it seems that in an interview with the Earl of Salisbury his lordship expressed some of the suspicion which they feel here about the designs of the French King and the possibility of a matrimonial alliance with Spain. His Majesty's refusal to embrace so favourable occasion as the recent movements in Italy indicates that he desires to remain on good terms with that Crown. The intimacy between the Pope and the Crown of France would be quite sufficient to effect any such designs.
The French Ambassador sought to justify his master's policy; but about the States nothing definite has been settled.
London, 16th May, 1607.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 733. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The King's agitation of mind about the Union still continues. No sooner is it supposed that the business is concluded than fresh difficulties crop up; and the King is now forced to desire the Union not only because it is useful, but also for his own reputation's sake. Like all great minds opposition fires him. On the other hand some of the popular leaders show such hardness that everyone wishes his Majesty has kept out of it (ne fosse digiuna), as it is evident that this business breeds temper in the King and in both nations.
Complaints of the Spanish continue, but the Union absorbs all thoughts. The Prince de Joinville is expected here. As a relation of the King he will be entertained at his Majesty's charges. The King may intercede for his restitution to the favour of his sovereign.
London, 16th May, 1607.
May. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 734. Francesco Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
After the death of Captain Juan Alvarez, Sherley wished to take command of the fleet; but as Spanish policy is directed to feeding him with fair promises, they now tell him he is destined for a post in the Levant. He has neither money nor credit, and the Constable declares that they cannot rely on him, and must have security from him before putting arms in his hands.
Madrid, 20th May, 1607.
May. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 735. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador had audience of the King to communicate the news of the accommodation between the Republic and the Pope.
The Ambassador congratulated the King on the fact that by his attitude towards the Republic he had largely contributed towards the achievement of his real object, which, as the Ambassador could bear witness, was never any other than to see the question closed peaceably with the preservation of the freedom which was granted to sovereigns by God. The King expressed his complete satisfaction at the issue. He congratulated the Republic, because by her example she herself and other Princes will be freed from the annoyance of such claims for the future (perchè si sarà con questo esempio lei et altri ancora per l'avenire liberati dalle molestie che da simili pretentioni le potevano essere inferite).
The King went on to say that he had seen the terms of the accommodation, as they were sent from France, from which it appeared that the Republic had yielded almost all the points claimed by the Pope; but that both his Ambassador in Venice and myself represented the matter differently, showing that the Republic had completely saved her honour. I assured him that such was the case, and that any other statement was the work of the Roman ecclesiastics and of ill-wishers. The King then proceeded to ask about the probable fate of the theologians who had written in defence of the Republic, naming them almost all. I replied that they would be quite well off, as the State had made provision for them. The King showed indignation at Fra Marc' Antonio Capello, who had fled, and declared that the Republic ought never to re-admit him to its dominions.
London, 23rd May, 1607.
May. 23. Collegio, Secreta, Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 736. The English Ambassador came to the Cabinet and said:—
That he had communicated the real terms of the accord, and it was well he had done so, for false articles had been sent to England containing such disgraceful clauses that the King could not believe them; for example, that the Republic had pledged itself that its laws would not be enforced.
The Ambassador then proceeded to lodge a complaint. “His Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople writes that by ancient custom all foreigners in that city who are not represented by an Ambassador are understood to be under the protection of the Ambassador of Great Britain. The Ambassador opened negotiations with the Grand Vizir, and obtained a confirmation of this claim under the seal of the Vizir; but the French Ambassador raised opposition and the Venetian Bailo supported him, so that the Grand Vizir sent to tell the English Ambassador that he would suspend the affair, and that it would take strong evidence to countervail the testimony of the Venetian in favour of French claims.
Now, supposing this to be correct, have not we just cause to complain of the Bailo? Surely, in a question between two powers both friendly to the Republic, the Venetian Envoy ought to have remained neutral. If this were true we have great cause to complain. But I am rather inclined to hold that the British Ambassador in his impatience to see his negotiations carried into effect may have jumped to the conclusion that the difficulties which had another source came from the Bailo. All the same this is the news I have from the British Ambassador in his letter of April 1st. If he wrote this with a view to my passing it on to his Majesty he has made a mistake, for I am devoted to the Republic, and then my commission does not extend beyond Italy; but if I may venture to advise I think it would be well to inform your Ambassador in England of the state of the case.”
The Ambassador then went on to petition in favour of Matteo Guagnini of Verona, condemned to prison for eight years. Padua and Vicenza know the Ambassador well on account of favours won for them; Verona, although the first Venetian town he reached on his coming, does not know him yet, and had he to stay there at night he would find no one to give him lodging. He appeals to the great benignity of the Doge towards him, which emboldens him to think that if he asked he would receive not this gentleman, but even a second Abbe of Nervesa. (fn. 1)
The Doge, in reply, said that they had information about the affair at Constantinople, and the suspension of the negotiations was due entirely to the French Ambassador, the Bailo having had no part in it.
The Ambassador said that he imagined that it was so, but he had felt it his duty to raise the question.
As to Guagnini, the Doge pointed out how difficult it was to obtain such graces from the Council of Ten; and all the more so in this case, as both Guagnini and his adversaries had large followings, and in a great city like Verona quarrels between the two families might easily occur. He promised, however, to bring the matter before the Ten.
The Ambassador replied that the quarrels of great families were not always displeasing to Princes. But he begged this grace, as the sentence had only nineteen more months to run, and at the end of that Guagnini would be quite free.
The Ambassador then read letters from the British resident at the Hague, who was always well informed. The Ambassador cannot believe that the King of Spain, after spending so much money, will consent to the terms of the truce.
May. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 737. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
News has come from Scotland that certain inhabitants of the mountains that look towards the islands and Ireland have risen and opposed armed forces to the King's officers. The reason is that as these people were always turbulent some of the Scottish gentry offered to subdue them, and a few months ago obtained leave to do so. When this was known the people rose. The rebels do not exceed three thousand, though their numbers may increase, for they have elected chiefs and given other signs of growing tumult. No steps have been taken here, as they do not wish to exacerbate that haughty race; especially as the Earl of Argyle—the greatest person in that kingdom—who was destined to the command against the rebels, promised to reduce them speedily without any further trouble. All the same the matter has greatly disturbed his Majesty.
There has been some trouble with pirates in these narrow seas, and a royal ship has been forced to retire.
Further news of trouble about English shipping in Spain.
There was a rumour of an engagement between the Spanish and the Dutch fleets, in which the Spanish got the worst; but it is not confirmed.
London, 23rd of May, 1607.


  • 1. Brandolin, one of the two oriminous clerics, whose arrest had caused differences with Rome.